You don't need to brave the lines outside of a 28-foot-high milk can to enjoy Little Man Ice Cream. The four-year-old venture has expanded its reach to provide ice cream for local restaurants, as well as at events and private parties.
And now Little Man's new "express bike" cruises beyond its popular location, where it scoops up two rotating flavors from a very cool cooler.
"It's important to us that every customer undergoes the Little Man experience when purchasing our product -- fast lane or not," says Little Man general manager Loren Martinez. "We are not trying to filter our customers through a fast-food drive-thru -- we're simply offering a quick option with the same old-fashioned quality product and customer service, now available in a vintage bicycle cooler." By next summer, the shop could have four or five express bikes delivering Little Man ice cream around town.
The shop is also now providing ice cream for sixteen local restaurants, including Il Vicino, Hops and Pie and El Camino. "Offering our product to restaurants has made it possible to have our brand visible all over Denver," Martinez says. "Customers who have never heard of Little Man are becoming more aware of us, and we think this has helped attract new customers to the milk can."
Enough new customers that Little Man has made 30 percent more ice cream this summer than it did last year. "You never know, maybe this will lead to another milk can," Martinez says.
For Little Man, more business also means more giving. Through its "Scoop for Scoop" program, Little Man donates a scoop of rice to villages in developing countries for every scoop of ice cream it sells.
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The shop itself has an ever-changing roster of flavors; at least six sorbets -- all vegan -- are offered every day. And as the weather cools down, it will shift the focus from ice cream to soup.